These past several weeks, Catholics across the Diocese of Rochester have shown just how deeply they care for their own when desperate need arises.
More than 100 parishes have responded thus far to a recent diocesanwide collection to help Southern Tier flood victims. Nearly $167,000had been raised through Nov. 9, according to Doug Mandelaro, diocesan spokesperson.
"This is an awe-inspiring response by the people of the diocese. It just makes you proud to be part of such a community of caring," Mandelaro commented.
The special collection was held at the request of Bishop Matthew H. Clark, with most diocesan parishes taking part on or near the weekend of Sept. 24-25. Donated funds are being coordinated by diocesan Catholic Charities and its regional offices.
"We’re so thankful for the generosity and support received to help us do the work we do in assisting those affected by this disaster," said Angela Klopf, director of Tioga Outreach Center, a ministry of Catholic Charities of Tompkins/Tioga. "Our agency and those we’re assisting are more grateful than you can imagine."
Funds will go toward recovery from record flooding that took place in early September. The relief effort also has been aided by large donations of food, supplies, clothing and work crews.
Floods devastated a large portion of Tioga County as well as parts of Chemung and Tompkins counties. The Susquehanna River crested at a record 40 feet in the village of Owego, Tioga County — 10 feet above flood level. A major disaster was declared by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for Tioga County, neighboring Broome County in the Syracuse Diocese, and many surrounding communities.
All four church campuses in the Blessed Trinity/St. Patrick parishes were affected to some degree. The biggest casualty was St. Patrick School in Owego, which suffered such widespread damage that students were forced to relocate to the Our Lady of Good Counsel school building in Endicott early in the school year. However, renovation of St. Patrick School has proceeded quickly and it was due to reopen Monday, Nov. 14.
Those still wishing to donate can designate checks for flood relief and send them to Tioga Outreach, 464 Broad St., Waverly, NY 14892.